Friday, December 24, 2010
I have another excellent site to share today that doesn't have to do with language and/or religion this time (well, a little bit about language - more on that in a bit), this one here called the Khan Academy. This is one example of some of the excellent free and open course material that has been available online in greater and greater volume in the past few years, and the subject matter here is more general than what one usually sees here on Page F30. Subjects such as banking, finance, calculus, and so on. It does have about 40 videos on cosmology and astronomy though, and as with the other subjects it starts from the simplest of introductions and eventually works into more complex subjects. The part on banking for example starts out with the concept of a bank (people make money and hide it in their mattress, somebody has a good idea for a business but doesn't have enough money, the bank finds a way to save the money of group A and lend it out to people in group B that have good enough ideas that they should be able to pay their loans back without defaulting), and then moves on to other subjects. The astronomy section also starts out with something quite basic (size of the Earth, wowzers it takes 17 years to fly around the Sun in a jet), and then moves on to slightly more complex subjects such as parallax, as you can see here.
As for what this has to do with language - some of the videos have an English transcript added, making it good for English L2 speakers as well as anyone who prefers to have a fairly accurate automatic translation below if studying another language. Unfortunately most of the time only the first few videos in a section have a proper transcript, so the rest of the time if you want to see one you'll have to use the automatic transcription service which is much less accurate.
The total number of videos is about 2000, so to watch them all would take about 500 hours. Lots of stuff to learn there if you have the time.